In Makin' a Way Out of No Way: Modjeska Monteith Simkins, producer Beryl Dakers introduces us to the woman known as the "matriarch of civil rights activists" in South Carolina. Born in 1899 and the oldest of eight children, Modjeska grew up with a desire to pursue education not only for herself, but for others. At the making of this documentary, Modjeska Monteith Simkins was ninety years old.
I would think of her as being a great listener, listening to all sides, being as objective as she could, but when it came to speaking her mind, she would do that. - Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, Civil Rights Leader
Simkins actively fought for civil rights in South Carolina for more than sixty years. This Benedict College alumni's accomplishments included teaching at Booker T. Washington High School, fighting for better teacher pay and voting rights, and helping to stamp out tuberculosis in the state among African Americans.
Did you know you can take a virtual tour of Modjeska Monteith-Simkins House? Built between 1890 and 1895 in Columbia, S.C., the one-story cottage served as home for Modjeska Monteith Simkins from 1932 until her death on April 5, 1992.
For more women's history content, check out the Women's History Month page. Visit the digital series, ETV Classics, to watch more gems from South Carolina ETV's vault.